Every August the Methodist Church in Ireland organises a week long event in Castlewellan. 100s attend from all over Ireland. This year the theme was "dare to dream".
Un-usually for a church event this year 4 politicians were interviewed one evening by David Blevins from Sky news and the event found its way onto the front of 2 local papers. Inevitably the focus was on 2 politicians in particular – Michelle O'Neill and Arlene Foster who could hardly be more different in their core political aims. As the papers said the 2 party leaders talked about their backgrounds. Michelle talked of family holidays in Bundoran and cramped car journeys without seat belts. Arlene mentioned attending an all girls school and her admiration for Britain's 1st female PM. Both showed emotion. Michelle talked about the death of Martin McGuinness and I have never seen a politician so visibly upset. Arlene defended herself against homophobic allegations.
Politics in Northern Ireland is at a standstill and we need these 2 women to work together. Our health service certainly needs some cross party action. Ultimately these 2 women will find a way. Their predecessors did. The alternative is not in their interests.
However look at my 3rd photograph.
Look at what happens when someone says "let us pray" in public. We all do the same thing – we bow (our heads). Side by side we see these 2 adversaries do just that. Like they are both acknowledging a higher power. Just how sincere or just instinctive that is will be best known to the individuals.
Regardless both can know that the people listening that night will continue to pray for them. They both know they need it.
It was a beautiful day yesterday. I went for an early morning walk before breakfast, doing part of the circuit around the lake, this is near the beginning and close to the castle. I love the vibrant shades of green in the direct sunlight. I shuffled around to try to catch a glimmer of the sun coming through the tree itself – did not turn out quite the way I hoped.
This week I am staying at CHW 2014. That is Castlewellan holiday week 2014 – a week long Methodist event which runs annually in August. It’s a fantastic mix of fellowship and teaching and “battery recharging”. This was taken late last night as it was getting dark. Very tranquil. The only thing to distract was a bat flying around catching insects.